Brightlight Pictures co-founders agree on amicable split

Shawn Williamson (pictured) has bought out long-time partner Stephen Hegyes, who will now pursue his own indie film and TV projects without the burden of corporate shackles.
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Stephen Hegyes is leaving Brightlight Pictures after co-founder Shawn Williamson bought him out.

The two Vancouver film and TV players have worked together for 12 years.

There’s no ill will, Williamson told Playback. Both men will work together on indie films they have in development at Telefilm Canada, and likely future projects down the road.

Vancouver-based Brightlight Pictures develops, finances and produces movies and TV projects for the Canadian and world market.

The company has produced over 80 projects since launching in 2001.

The amicable split will allow Hegyes and Williamson to pursue their own passions in film and TV work.

“I bought Steve out to allow me to carry on with the company in the direction that makes sense for me, and to allow him to have the creative freedom to pursue projects that are of interest to him,” Williamson, who becomes sole chairman of Brightlight Pictures, told Playback on the weekend.

Going forward, Hegyes, released from corporate shackles at Brightlight Pictures, will be able to focus on indie Canadian features and TV series.

“It will be great to continue to work with Shawn in a new capacity as we both evolve to seek out new opportunities. There has never been a better time to be producing Canadian television that is being celebrated at home, internationally and in the U.S. market,” Hegyes said in his own statement.

Hegyes recent film producer credits include the Paul Gross-starring western comedy Gunless and 50 Deadmen Walking, directed by Kari Skogland.

Williamson, meanwhile, will continue his interest in American work, whether service work and or big budget Canadian films and TV series that don’t necessarily involve funding agencies like Telefilm Canada.

He’s currently overseeing the Daniel Radcliffe-starrer Horns, now shooting in Vancouver for Mandalay Pictures and Red Granite Pictures.

Hegyes leaves Brightlight Pictures with no first look deal.

But he and Williamson have around five projects in development with Telefilm Canada that they are attached to co-produce together.

And both men will co-produce Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story, a co-production with Inferno Pictures for the CBC.

Additionally, Brightlight Pictures may handle corporate duties on one of Hegyes’ projects, including legal and accounting, on Hegyes projects, Williamson said.